Pamukkale University

Located in Denizli in Turkey, Pamukkale University was formed in 1992 and are a modernist University with a very forward looking education policy.

The university plays an important role to enhance the city of Denizli and country through art, business, medical, science and technology with up-to-date knowledge, creativities for young generation who are needed by our country. Our main campus has 7 faculties, 3 institutes, 5 higher education schools, 6 vocational higher education schools and 13 research centres. Total 30,000 students and 1400 academic staffs.

The University specialises in teacher training for the whole of Turkey but they want to get more in tune with their local community in order to bring teaching and learning to a more local level. As part of their development strategy they joined the Swedish (Tinta education) led multilateral Grundtvig project ‘Sharing landscapes – Experiments in Outdoor experiential Learning’. This opened the door to some ambitions in informal adult learning. In Sharing Landscapes they experimented with costume, role play and re-enactment and created an e-learning module that they will use with their student teachers. One EVEHD ambition is to see how this can be used with local villagers and volunbteers.

The nearby archaeological sites of Loadicea and Hieropolis offer good opportunities for volunteers (local & international) to engage in survey, excavation and restoration and the University’s ambition to link into the community has led to a positive relationship with the mosque.

 

The Restoration of a holy well is enlisted as Action No.15 Action under the EVEHD Work Programme.

The holy well / sacred water site restoration was a common thread through each of the 6 multilateral, all partner cultural actions. It was also an ongoing process throughout the two years that EVEHD ran. In fact, the purpose was to ‘kick start’ a process that would just keep rolling with local volunteers. I believe we have succeeded in that regard in Germany, UK and Slovakia; in Romania, Iceland and Turkey I am more pessimistic but this needs qualifying a bit.  In Romania the Orthodox Christian church still has enormous power and influence and most if not all holy wells are under the control of monasteries and looked after by monks and nuns – we had some difficulty finding one to work with. In Iceland Gudmundur the Good, the then Bishop of the country, blessed many wells (the ‘Blessed Wells of Iceland’) and we realised that people do not take them too seriously these days (Father John Musther, the English Orthodox priest who led in the wells, would say it’s because they’re Protestants!); we think it would be very difficult to generate a group of volunteers to do this ongoing well maintenance. Again qualification is needed – we looked at 6 holy wells in the process of choosing one to work on – all were on private land and most were cared for by the owner.

Here is a potted description of what we achieved with our volunteers:

This was organised with a large group of volunteers from the local village and a retired structural engineer in charge. We all (17 international visitors) worked alongside them. They had bought travertine slabs from a nearby supplier and we ended up making a very fine double trough (one for people & one for animals) – much of the old stonework was covered (but not destroyed) and they carefully preserved the original stone carving. We were told the story of the sacred well by the Muhktar (mayor of the village of Manisa/Sangolonore): ”The fountain’s story, was told by two elderly peasants in the village where the restoration took place. Once there was man and his wife who  wished for nothing more than a child. They travelled across the country looking for a remedy. One day they met an elderly lady who was tired of walking and very thirsty. The couple gave their last water to the old woman. The old woman looked into their eyes and told them about the fountain in the village which could cure all her troubles. The man and his wife tried to find the well and found it after a while of searching. They drunk the water and a year later they had a baby. In the following years a house was built in the village that stopped the wells water from flowing. The couple’s children began to get sick and the villagers went to see the man who’s house blocked the well. They told him the story about the well and the children but the foreigner wouldn’t listen. A few weeks later the foreigner started to get sick. One of the Village Eldest came to see him and said «I am the mother. If you dry off the fountain you and the villages children will die. So they destroyed the new house cause only if the wells water flows the water of life will continue ».

One of the highlights for us all on the Turkish well restoration (we worked 3 days) was that the village ladies came and cooked food under the shade of the tree’s by the stream and we had wonderful Turkish traditional lunches (which inspired our ‘Defining Dishes’ curriculum).